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To set up the ToC, E. GOLDRATT offers a 5-step method.


The setting up of TOC consists of concentrating on the “constraint” of our system.

Step 1 – Identify the constraint

By considering the whole system (from client to supplier) that we want to study, we map the process, identify the constraint and its positioning in the process.

We will assign him a typology (regulation, political, human, material…): A “ human ” constraint does not approach in the same way as a ” material ” constraint.

From there, we measure the gap: in relation to the current need, it is a question of deciding the level of performance of the constraint that would enable us to achieve our objectives.

Step 2 – Harnessing the constraint

We focus on the exploitation to the maximum of the constraint. Starting from a performance study of this constraint (OEE…), we will identify the main sources of loss. We put in place Lean projects To remove these losses and improve the performance of the constraint.

Step 3 – Make the entire system subordinate to the constraint

The scheduling of the system is carried out in accordance with the rules of the DBR. During this step, the planner pulls the ” rope ” from the constraint to the provider to identify the launch sequences that respect the pace of the constraint. Its role will then be to manage the Buffer upstream and downstream of the constraint.

Step 4 – Elevate the constraint

Depending on the need, the possibilities of increasing the capacity of the constraint are investigated. This will be done through investments, hiring of staff…

We will resume the mapping done in step 1 to see if our constraint is always the constraint of the system where if it has moved.

Step 5 – Continuous improvement, resume in step 1

Removing a constraint means that the bottleneck has been improved so that the bottleneck has moved to another location in the system.

We go back to step 1 and start over!


E. Goldratt (1984) – The Goal

M.M. Umble, M.L. Srikanth (1995) – Synchronous Manufacturing: Principles for world class Excellence

K. Watson, J. Blackstone, S. Gardiner (2007)-The evolution of a management philosophy: the Theory of Constraints

A. Chauvigne, A. Kalev, J. Colin (2011) – Flexibility of the Drum-Buffer-Rope method in various contexts.

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